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Home >> Grow Smart, Grow Safe >> Soil amendments & fertilizers

   Soil amendments & fertilizers >> How to choose a compost product


How to choose a compost product

The look, feel and smell are the best first indicators. Good compost:

  • Has a medium – to dark-brown color and a crumbly texture.
  • It is not too wet or dry and may feel warm, but it should not be hot.
  • A mild, sweet, earthy odor indicates good maturity.
  • Avoid compost with a strong rotten-egg or ammonia smell.

Ask questions.

What about possible contaminants?

  • It is uncommon for commercial compost to have significant herbicide or pesticide residues, weed seeds or plant diseases because of the way it is processed in large facilities.
  • Heavy metals are uncommon, except sometimes in compost made from biosolids (sewage waste).
  • Salts are a little more common – particularly in compost made from manures or food wastes – but are generally less of a problem, especially when the compost is applied when rains can wash salts from the soil.



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